Monday, January 23, 2012

Homemade Potpourri - EASY!

I'm not the first to come up with this idea, but my house smells so yummy, so I just had to share!  I had peeled some oranges for lunch and was about to throw away the peels, but then I thought, "I don't want to waste them!"  So, I grabbed half, threw them in my small saucepan and added the following:

About 1 cup water
2 Cinnamon sticks
several allspice balls

And bodda-bing, bodda boom!  I have my very own potpourri made from things I had on hand already.  I set it on the stove top and kept the heat low.  It only took a few moments for it to smell wonderful! The only problem is that it smells like something yummy is baking.  lol  Later on I will be baking Greg's birthday cake, so it will smell yummy again!  (A side note: you may need to add more water, depending on how long you want to heat your potpourri.)

Have you ever made your own potpourri and what did you use?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Whole Treat

Hi friend, how are you doing today?  I have a wonderful treat to share with you, but this one does not require a recipe. It does however require a good knife and a bit of extra chopping time.  Wanna know what it is?


My dinner tonight.

A few years ago, a friend of mine challenged me to eat whole.  No, I don't mean to eat the whole pizza.  (Although accepting that challenge would be fun and exciting.) Eating whole means eating our food as unprocessed as possible.  Basically eating what God has made.  I remember how hard it was that first month, but after some real dedication, I actually started to crave spinach salad.  I would drool with anticipation as I was chopping up my dinners.  I felt healthy and energetic!  But, I became pregnant and when the cravings came, the eating whole left.

If you have been following me on my other blog,, you know that I have been trying to lose my pregnancy weight. Well, I have become frustrated with trying to eat the right amount of calories, the right amount of carbs and so on.  So, I have decided to go back to what God has created. Fruits, veggies, seeds, grains, and yes, fish and meats.  (God made meat too!)  It's going to be HARD, but worth it. 

So, here's my treat for tonight.  I'm excited about all the good foods I will be enjoying now that I have decided to eat whole. I will be posting recipes here too using whole foods.  Have you ever tried eating whole before?  What are your thoughts about it?

PS.  I am planning on adding a protein snack later.  :)  Can't forget the protein!!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Trading vegetable oil for applesauce?

Have you ever tried substituting applesauce for oil?  I have never even heard of it before the other day.  I decided to try it in some muffins to see if it really works, and I was delighted to find that it does!

Here's the recipe for basic muffins. I added chocolate chips in with the dry ingredients to make chocolate chip muffins,  (Much to Chloe's delight) and of course swapped the oil out for 1/3 cup applesauce.

You'll mix all the dry ingredients first, plus the chocolate chips if you're adding those.  Then you will mix the wet ingredients and add it to the dry.  Mix only until moistened, don't over mix!  Fill your muffin tins about 1/2 or 3/4 of the way full and bake at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes.  If you want to make them super yummy, sprinkle some of this mixture over the top BEFORE baking.

3 T. sugar
2 T. brown sugar

                                                              And here is the result:

I had a little trouble getting them out of my muffin tins, but that's not the receipes' fault.  I have one of those silicone muffin 'tins' and it doesn't work quite like it should.  Oh well.  They are super yummy anyway!  Now, what other recipes can I swap out the oil for?! 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Porcupine Meatballs

How many of your recipes are hand-me-downs?  This is one of my favorite recipes that was given to me by my grandma. I think of her every time I make them.  My kids aren't super excited when I tell them we're having porcupine meatballs, but it's growing on them.  :)
Porcupine Meatballs

1 pound gr. beef
1 cup rice
dash of salt and pepper

Mix all together and form balls.  Set each ball down in a large pan...I use my large electric skillet.   (I'm guessing you could also bake these bad boys in the oven, but I've never tried it)  Next, peel enough potatoes for your family, cut into halves or quarters, I like to keep them big.  Set the potatoes down in with the meatballs.

Mix together:
1 normal size can tomato soup with 1 can water.  Pour over the top of potatoes and meatballs.  Cook at around 300 degrees until done.  You will need to stir them occasionally to make sure the rice gets nice and done.  I usually let them cook about an hour, they get crispy yummy!

For venison users, I mixed 1 pound gr. beef and 1 pound gr. venison and it worked great! 

Do you have a favorite meatball recipe?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The flour trick

Have you ever tried a cookie recipe that seemed so promising, only to have the cookies turn out flat and crunchy?  Maybe you ate someone else's chewy, soft, delicious cookies and  fell in love.  Then you asked for the recipe.  You couldn't wait to try them yourself.  So, you mix them up, bake them, and then they came out of the oven flat.  They are so crunchy you debate whether you should toss the cookies (no pun intended, but it is funny) or if you should crumble them up for an ice cream topping.  Why does this happen?

I discovered a trick, and probably everyone already knows this trick, but it has saved me a lot of failed batches of cookies.  So, in case you didn't know, here it is.

1/2 cup extra flour per patch of cookies.  So if you double your cookie recipes like I do, it would be a full cup of flour.

That's it.  Adding an extra 1/2 cup of flour almost always makes my cookies turn out perfectly.  It doesn't matter what type of cookie it is, sugar, chocolate chip, peanut name it.  If I add a little extra flour, they are soft and yummy.  They even look really yummy.  :)

Don't add too much flour though, because that is bad for your cookies too. If you add too much flour, all of a sudden you have hockey pucks or door stops.  Your cookie dough should be slightly sticky, but you should be able to handle it to get it on your cookie sheets.

Do you have a trick or a cookie recipe to share with me?  My kids eat a lot of does their mother....  lol

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A trick, not a treat

Well, today's post isn't a recipe for a special treat. This is more of a kitchen tip.  I am horrible when boiling noodles.  My pot boils over every. single. time.  So, when I saw this tip on I decided to give it a try, and guess what?  It works!

Now of course, to get my water boiling, I always put a lid on the top to make the process faster. But, once I put my noodles in, it seems to boil over really quickly.  Until now.

My wooden spoon is missing a chunk but I still love it.
Simply place a wooden spoon over the pot and it won't boil over!  It gets close, heart-stoppingly close, but it doesn't boil over!  I did have a few bubbles go over the side, but all in all, it was a success!

Did you also know that a watched pot never boils?  :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Grandma's Potato Soup

I have had a lot of good potato soup, but this is my favorite.  My grandma would make it often and she gave me the recipe!  Even my kids all enjoy it, which is saying something when you find a main dish that all the kids enjoy! 

1 egg
1 cup flour, plus a pinch of salt
salt to taste

1st, peel, chop, and boil as many potatoes as you need to make enough soup for your family.  For my family I peel about 10-12 large potatoes. (I put a lot of potatoes in since I figure there is a reason it's called 'potato soup'.)  Drain the potatoes, keeping about half of the water.  Pour in milk..enough to replace the water you drained. Bring back to a boil.  Now, here is the secret recipe!

Mix together the egg and flour and pinch of salt. It will be chunky.  These are the rivels.  Once your pot of soup is boiling, crumble the rivels over the pot and boil for at least 1 minute.  Salt and pepper to taste.  I also love to add some parsley and dill weed.

my big pot after scooping 1st helping
 The final touch is something I added to Grandma's recipe.  I like to put in a dollop or 2 of sour cream. It makes it smooth and creamy, and no one knows it's sour cream in there.  (My husband hates sour cream, but he enjoys the soup.)  Make sure your soup has cooled slightly before adding the sour cream because otherwise it will turn greasy.

Once you've served it up into bowls, you can top it with shredded cheese, bacon bits, anything! 

So, guess what we're having for dinner??  My kids even asked for seconds! Score!